egard­less of your com­ings or go­ings, we want you to ar­rive home safely af­ter the last few long week­ends away with the fam­ily be­fore the cold re­ally sets in. Noth­ing quite ru­ins your hol­i­day like a con­fis­cated trailer or car­a­van and an eye­wa­ter­ing fine from the cop­pers for faulty brake lights and in­di­ca­tors. What’s worse than aban­don­ing your trailer or camper on the side of the road due to seized wheel bear­ings? You can rest as­sured that the mis­sus won’t be happy ei­ther! Talk­ing to sev­eral trailer man­u­fac­tur­ers and im­porters, it’s come to our at­ten­tion that most con­sumers take tow­ing for granted. Proper prepa­ra­tion is usu­ally left to last­minute.com, but it is ul­ti­mately your key to a suc­cess­ful week­end away. An un­pre­pared trailer opens you up to all sorts of risks and makes you vul­ner­a­ble as a road user. When it comes to prep­ping your trailer, it’s im­per­a­tive that you make sure ev­ery­thing is 100 per cent and in tip-top work­ing or­der. Our tech edi­tor, Ian Theron, who is known for say­ing: “If it doesn’t fit into the Landy, leave it at home,” has towed many trail­ers through­out his life (prob­a­bly when he still owned the Jeep). He says that stick­ing to the ba­sics is a good start to a suc­cess­ful trailer prep. “Check­ing your tyre pres­sure and mak­ing sure they are in good con­di­tion is crit­i­cal. This in­cludes wheel bear­ings, wiring and light­ing. Then check the ac­tual trailer it­self. Things like com­pat­i­bil­ity and con­form­ing to the ap­pro­pri­ate trailer size is also very im­por­tant,” Ian says. He warns against tow balls sit­ting too high, or when the weight of the trailer is greater than the tow­ing ve­hi­cle. “This means your weight dis­tri­bu­tion is wrong which will ul­ti­mately make you un­sta­ble on the road, and lead to all sorts of prob­lems. Rather don’t tow if you can’t tow right.” He adds that most mod­ern cars th­ese days are fit­ted with elec­tronic sys­tems that recog­nises the pres­ence of a trailer or car­a­van and can make sig­nif­i­cant changes through sta­bil­ity con­trol and how trans­mis­sion re­sponds. “Which is why it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that when you in­stall an af­ter­mar­ket tow bar, it is of the ut­most im­por­tance to en­sure that the wiring is done by ex­pertse or ap­proved deal­ers,”deal­ers ” he concludes.con­clu Here are some im­por­tant as­pects of check­ing your tow ve­hi­cle be­fore leav­ing on your next week­end away: • Slow down and find a speed that feels right – don’t rush to your des­ti­na­tion. There’s no max­i­mum tow­ing speed in South Africa. • Make sure your li­cense pa­pers and tow­ing doc­u­ments are in or­der. You need an EB li­cense to tow a gross com­bi­na­tion mass (com­bines tare weight of tow ve­hi­cle and trailer/car­a­van/camper) not ex­ceed­ing 3 500 kg. • The GVM (Gross Ve­hi­cle Mass) of your trailer/camper/car­a­van may not ex­ceed the tare weight of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle.

• Reg­u­larly check your tyre pres­sure. • When the trailer/camper is hitched, make sure it’s level with the car (or bet­ter yet, slightly nose down). • The weight ‘at the ball’ should never ex­ceed 100 kg. Proper weight dis­tri­bu­tion is im­por­tant here. • Ad­just head­lights to take the trailer into ac­count.

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